Blood samples Public Domain CDC

An all-in-one test can now identify every known, inherited heart disease with a single blood sample.

The test identifies 174 faulty genes associated with heart and circulatory system conditions including heart rhythm disturbances, a propensity for high cholesterol levels, and aortic diseases — 17 known diseases and conditions in all.

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The new test can identify family members at risk years earlier than before, allowing them to take action ranging from surgery to simple lifestyle changes to prevent heart trouble later on. It could benefit about a half-million people at risk of inherited heart disease in the UK alone.

The British Heart Foundation, which funded a portion of the research to develop the new test, says it provides a “cheaper and more efficient diagnosis” than previous genetic tests.

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“Genetic tests are invaluable when managing inherited heart conditions,” Dr. James Ware, one of the lead researchers said. “Without a genetic test, we often have to keep the whole family under regular surveillance for many years, because some of these conditions may not develop until later in life.”

The test is already being used to diagnose about 40 patients per month at a Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Researchers hope National Health Service labs across the UK will adopt it in the near future.

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation, and the UK’s Health Innovation Challenge Fund and the findings were published February 17 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research.

(READ more at The Guardian) — Photo: CDC

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